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Instant Opinion: Tories ‘face backlash’ if victorious

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 29 November

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The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Iain Martin in The Times

on history repeating itself

Conservatives face a backlash if they win

“Veteran party observers have cited similarities between this general election and 1983, when voters concluded that they simply could not countenance a far-left leader like Michael Foot. The more striking parallel I see is with 1992. Then the Conservatives won with a relatively new leader, John Major, and promises of a brighter future. Six months later they were ruined by the collapse of their European policy and the ERM debacle. In the years that followed they were buried under an avalanche of sleaze allegations. This time the Tories have been in power for nearly a decade and, in policy area after policy area, they are overdue a kicking from a country increasingly concerned about the condition of public services. If that kicking does not come next month, because voters sensibly realise that Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be prime minister, then it’s likely the dam will break next year.”

2. Joel Golby in The Guardian

on the mystical allure of the PM

Look at Boris Johnson eating a scone. This? This is your shagger god?

“With eyes open and hearts brave, we must watch this video of Boris Johnson eating a scone. This is what we’ve come to: Boris Johnson eating a mediocre baked good is somehow a sort of galactic-brained version of everyman campaigning, a highpoint of election conversation, and a stunning and remarkable example of strategic nous. When really, it looks like grainy VHS footage of a toddler eating a cracker for the first time re-enacted by a man who, on every other version of Earth, is the village weirdo famed for acting erratically near urinals, and not, as we have it here on Earth-Prime, the most politically important man in the United Kingdom. But there we are.”

3. Stephen Bush in The i Newspaper

on the battle for the opposition

The Liberal Democrats' dismal polling is down to Jeremy Corbyn - he is the party's real leader

“Lib Dems understandably resent Labour’s attitude that they are, in reality, little more than a strange adjunct onto the United Kingdom’s main opposition party. Labour partisans, too, find it incomprehensible that voters still view the Liberal Democrats, who spent five years sharing power with the Conservatives at Westminster, as a legitimate home for anti-Tory sentiment. But in 2019, as in every election in the modern history of the Liberal Democrats, most voters believe that, given a choice, the Liberal Democrats’ first preference is a deal with Labour – and if the Conservative voters that the party needs to flip to win seats are turned off by the Labour leader, they won’t back the Liberal Democrats.”

4. Judith Woods in The Telegraph

on the beauty of aging

It’s time we woke up to the allure of the older woman

“Young people flinch at our crow’s feet while we see laughter lines. We’ve been round the block often enough not to sweat the small stuff. It’s a curious paradox that young women wear far more make-up than my age group, even though they need it less. Could it be that each of us already grasps the strength and depth of our foundation so we don’t need to keep slathering on more? Just a thought. I have no inclination to stir up an inter-generational catfight, as it only fuels the cliches about women being their own worst enemies. Besides, would any of us swap wisdom for youth? There are good reasons why Freaky Friday is one of the most palm-sweatingly frightening films my demographic will ever watch.”

5. Carlos Eduardo Pina in Al Jazeera

on the overestimation of power

Is Venezuela really a threat to Latin America and the Caribbean?

“On closer inspection, the accusation that the Venezuelan government is a threat to the survival, stability and democratic integrity of the countries in the LAC region appears to be an exaggeration. Caracas currently has neither the intention nor the military, economic or political power to take on any major political actor or alter the dynamics within the region. Caracas' petrol income has reached record lows and its economy is in a shambles. The Maduro government is incapable of providing for its own citizens let alone spending money abroad to hurt its political rivals. Moreover, Venezuela does not currently have the capacity to embark on a military intervention in another country.”

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